Taking on your own Whole Grain Challenge

It’s hardly a secret that whole grains are better for you than refined grains. That’s why in 2010, The Abbey Group decided to eliminate all refined grain choices in every food except pizza, which until 2012 we offered a choice between the two. It was because of this sweeping effort The Abbey Group was nominated for and won a nationally recognized Whole Grain Challenge Award from the Whole Grains Council.

“The Abbey Food Service Group was the hands down favorite to win the ‘Wild Card’ category in the 2010 Whole Grains Challenge.” –Whole Grains Council

Sometimes we encounter resistance from children when they, as we say, “make the switch” but we know all of the tricks to make the transition as painless as possible. In many of our schools, whole wheat has totally integrated into student’s daily life and if parents make the switch at home, then it becomes the new normal for kids. That makes it easy for children to make other healthy decisions throughout their entire lives. If you’re looking incorporate more whole grains into your diet but thought you couldn’t, just remember the  thousands of children who’ve done it right in the cafeteria. We’ve included a few helpful tips distributed by the USDA to help you make the switch.

Make Simple Switches

-To make half your grains whole grains, substitute a whole-grain product for a refined-grain product. For example, eat 100% whole-wheat bread or bagels instead of white bread or bagels, or brown rice instead of white rice.


Whole Grains Can Be Healthy Snacks

-Popcorn, a whole grain, can be healthy snack. Make it with little or no added salt or butter. Also, try 100% whole-wheat or rye crackers.
Save Some Time

-Cook extra bulgur or barley when you have time. Freeze half to heat and serve later as a quick side dish.

Mix It Up With Whole Grains

-Use whole grains in mixed dishes, such as barley in vegetable soups or stews and bulgur wheat in casseroles or stir-fries. Try a quinoa salad or pilaf


Try Whole-Wheat Versions

-For a change, try brown rice or whole-wheat pasta. Try brown rice stuffing in baked green peppers or tomatoes, and whole-wheat macaroni in macaroni and cheese.


Bake Up Some Whole-Grain Goodness

-Experiment by substituting buckwheat, millet, or oat flour for up to half of the flour in pancake, waffle, muffin, or other flour-based recipes. They may need a bit more leavening in order to rise.


Be A Good Role Model For Children

-Set a good example for children by serving and eating whole grains every day with meals or as snacks.


Check The Label For Fiber

-Use the Nutrition Facts label to check the fiber content of whole-grain foods. Good sources of fiber contain 10% to 19% of the Daily Value; excellent sources contain 20% or more.


Know What To Look For On The Ingredients List

-Read the ingredients list and choose products that name a wholegrain ingredient first on the list. Look for “whole wheat, “brown rice,” “bulgur,” “buckwheat,” “oatmeal,” “whole-grain cornmeal,” “whole oats,” “whole rye,” or “wild rice.


Be A Smart Shopper

-The color of a food is not an indication that it is a whole-grain food. Foods labeled as “multi-grain,” “stone-ground,” “100% wheat, ”cracked wheat,” “seven-grain,” or “bran” are usually not 100% whole-grain products, and may not contain any whole grain.




By the way– Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, or another cereal grain is a grain product. Bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas, and grits are examples. Grains are divided into two

subgroups, whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel—the bran, germ, and endosperm. People who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases.

for more information on whole grains please visit myplate.com.